Background: Peanut-allergic patients are affected by a condition which forces them and their families to exercise extreme dietary vigilance and experience constant uncertainty throughout their lives.
Objective: To compare the quality of life and family relations of children and adults with a peanut allergy to that of children and adults with a rheumatological disease.
Methods: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy or a rheumatological disease completed (for children less than 18 years, by proxy) self-report questionnaires regarding the impact of their condition on their quality of life and family relations. A vertical visual analogue scale and the Impact on Family Questionnaire (IFQ) served as outcome measures.
Results: One hundred and fifty-three peanut-allergic children were compared with 69 children with a rheumatological disease while 37 peanut-allergic adults were compared with 42 adults with a rheumatological disease. The parents of peanut-allergic children, compared to the parents of children with a rheumatological disease, reported that their children had significantly more disruption in their daily activities. Furthermore, the parents of peanut-allergic children reported more impairment in the familial-social dimension of the IFQ. Conversely, adults with a chronic rheumatological disease reported more disruption in their family relations than peanut-allergic adults.
Conclusion: Given the considerable disruption in daily activities and family relations reported by the parents of peanut-allergic children, accurate diagnosis of peanut allergy is essential. Our work should make health care professionals dealing with children with confirmed peanut allergy more aware of the support that these families may require. Furthermore, we hope to motivate food industries to offer more 'peanut free' products to decrease the dietary restrictions of these patients while minimizing their potential for accidental ingestion.